Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Comfort Food and One Kick-A$$ Cobbler

After a couple of really long, crazy weeks at work I was seriously craving comfort food. To me, nothing is more comforting than a beef potpie with a cheddar biscuit top and a berry cobbler. So last Friday became family dinner night with the Boys. I have to say it was a huge success since not a bite of potpie was left! And the cobbler? Well it was probably one of the best things I have EVER baked!

Here it is from start to finish. It took about 3 hours to make both dishes including all of the prep and bake time. The most difficult part was probably getting the cobbler crust to come together without adding too much liquid. Overall, these recipes are great for even novice cooks.

The original recipe for the beef potpie is from Food & Wine and can be found here and the cobbler is from the December 2011 issue of Southern Living and can be found here. I have adapted the potpie recipe since the original makes two 9x13 pans my notes are below. Enjoy!

First I peeled and sliced the parsnips, carrots, onion and garlic for the potpie. The original recipe for the potpie doesn't call for garlic, but the first time I made it I felt like it was too bland so I started adding 2 cloves of garlic. I also chopped the rosemary and added the fresh thyme to a small bowl so it would be ready. I also use at least one full tablespoon of the herbs instead of half for one 9x13 pan.

Sliced Parsnips, Carrots, Onion and Minced Garlic

After I finished the prep for the potpie, I preheated the oven and made the crust for the cobbler. This dough barely came together for me and I ended up adding about one extra tablespoon of milk. I think that if you have a large food processor it might be really helpful to use to combine the crust.

Once I had the dough together, I divided it into two and rolled out half the dough. Wrapped the other half of the dough in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge. I used a pizza wheel to cut the dough into strips and placed them on a slightly greased baking sheet. I baked the strips of crust and then placed them on a rack to cool.

While the crust was cooling, I turned my attention back to the potpie. I used my Le Creuset to melt two tablespoons of butter and two tablespoons of olive oil. Then I added the veggies. I cooked the veggies about 7 minutes until they were soft and then added the beef and herbs. It is really important to use very lean ground beef for this recipe. I use 90 / 10 or 93 / 7. I tried using 80 / 20 and it didn't turn out as well.

Cooking the Beef with the Veggies
After cooking the beef, I added 2 tablespoons of flour. Then slowly I added the chicken broth and milk. I use about 3/4 cup of milk and 3/4 cup of broth. I find that each time I do this part I end up changing the amount of liquid and flour slightly to get the right consistency. At this point, I add a little less than a half of a 10 oz bag of frozen peas and less than half a 10 oz bag of frozen corn. Corn isn't in the original recipe, but I like adding more veggies where I can.

At this point, I add salt and pepper and make sure that I taste the mixture. Based on how things taste and the consistency, I make any adjustments to seasoning or cooking time. Once everything is just right, I add the mixture to a 9 x 13 baking dish.

Potpie Ready for the Biscuit Top
Then I make the cheddar biscuit topping. I add 2 cups of flour to a bowl and used my pastry blender to cut in 3/4 stick of butter. When it is the consistency of coarse meal, I add 1 cup of shredded cheddar. I add 1 cup of milk and stir until the dough comes together. I add golf-ball sized rounds of the dough to cover the top.

Ready to Bake

If you are baking the potpie after the cobbler crust, make sure that you have increased the oven temperature to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the potpie in the oven to bake for 40 minutes. If you are worried about the liquid in the potpie spilling over, place the pan on a jelly roll pan.

Next it's time to finish the cobbler. Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it out on a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into strips. Then add the frozen berries to a large mixing bowl. I used two 10 oz bags of blackberries and one 10 oz bag of blueberries. Then I added just under two cups of sugar with the flour and lemon juice and combined.

Berry Mixture
Add half of the berry mixture to a greased 9x13 baking dish. Break apart the pre-baked strips of crust on top and then add small pieces of butter on top. Cover the crust pieces with the rest of the berry mixture. Use the strips of dough that were just rolled out to form a lattice pattern over the top of the cobbler. Place the remaining butter in between the lattice and sprinkle sugar on the top of the crust.

Ready to Bake
Wait until the potpie is finished cooking and cooling to lower the oven temperature for the cobbler. Place the cobbler in the oven to bake for 50 - 60 minutes. The cobbler should be finished baking right about the time you are done eating dinner. Let the cobbler cool a bit then serve with ice cream or Cool Whip. Of course, we had both.
My Instagram Photo of the Finished Cobbler

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